In an earlier article we discussed the powerful impact the thruster movement (squat into overhead push press) can have on leg and upper body strength, core stabilization, metabolic conditioning training, and as a functional movement for nearly every athlete.
The thruster is typically performed with the barbell, however usage of different loading instruments, such as dumbbells, different bars, and even kettlebells can help to increase fitness, joint stabilization, and overall strength in a wider range of motion.
Therefore, in this article we will discuss the double kettlebell thruster, the benefits coaches and athletes can expect from adding them into training programs, how to properly perform them.
Double Kettlebell Thruster Exercise Demo
In the below video Jeff Martone demonstrates the proper positioning and execution of the kettlebell thruster.
As you can see, the movement is nearly identical as the barbell and dumbbell thruster variations, with the lifter assuming the proper front rack position with the elbows under the load, maintaining an upright torso in the downwards aspect of the squat, and forcefully driving out of the squat into a forceful overhead pressing motion.
Why Do Thrusters with Two Kettlebells?
Below are just a few reasons why coaches and athlete should program kettlebell thrusters into training regimens if and when concerned with maximal injury prevention, conditioning, and/or overall functional performance.
1. Increased Range of Motion Demands
By increasing the range of motion (depth of squat and overhead extension) and necessity for better control of two independent pieces of load, you challenge the ability of the neuromuscular systems to develop greater proprioception and control to effectively perform the movement.
2. Shoulder Stabilization Improvements
Due to the increased demands of control and stabilization of often unused muscle fibers, the kettlebell thruster can effectively develop shoulder joint stabilization, specifically assisting with injury prevention at the rotator cuff, upper back, and shoulder capsule. Increased neural control and muscular strength can often aid in injury resilience throughout an athlete’s range of motion.
3. Upper Back and Core Strength
As with most front racked positions, the upper back, scapulae, and core muscles are challenged to a very high degree to remain contracted and coordinated with integrity. Because the kettlebells are independent of one another, any asymmetries ad imbalances are more pronounced, leading to increased demands on control and coordination on the lifter.
4. Unilateral Training Adaptations
At this point you should know everything you need to about unilateral training, but if not check out this article. Unilateral training has the ability to increase performance by addressing single-sided muscular and movement asymmetries, increase muscular activation, and enhance neuromuscular patterning.
5. Anaerobic and Aerobic Conditioning
The kettlebells are a very good tool for performing longer duration work sets to increase anaerobic and aerobic fitness and stamina. The kettlebell thruster is a great movement to increase endurance and challenge the lifters strength and mobility while then transitioning into more basics movements such as swings, walks, etc.
Want More Kettlebell?
Take a look at more of our kettlebell training articles below!
Featured Image: @crossfitbell on Instagram
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